Memphis was the first capital of unified Egypt, founded in 3100 BC by King Narmer. Little is visible of the grandeur of ancient Memphis, save for what is found in the museum and some excavated areas (not open to the public as yet), that include the sites of temples to various gods and a curious embalming area used to mummify the sacred Apis bulls. Most of the monuments of Memphis were robbed throughout history for their stone. This stone, together with that stripped from the casings of various pyramids, was used to build Cairo. The modern village of Badrasheen, noted for its palm-rib furniture industry, covers most of the other remains of the ancient city.
The museum enclosure encompasses all of what is viewable in Memphis. The most dramatic object is the colossal limestone statue of Ramses II (1290–1224 BC) that lies within the museum proper. There is a viewing balcony that runs around the statue and provides good views of it from above. The statue shows fine details like a very elaborately carved dagger at the pharaoh's waist. Outside the museum building, a sculpture garden contains a scattered assortment of statuary, coffins, and architectural fragments recovered from the area of Memphis. The Egyptian alabaster sphinx is one of the larger sphinxes found in Egypt, and there are several statues of Ramses II in granite and limestone. A curious sarcophagus carved upside down also lies in the garden, as well as columns decorated with textile motifs, dating to the later periods of Egyptian history. A series of stalls selling replicas of Egyptian artifacts is set up on one side of the garden. Quality varies, but on the whole you can find some attractive items here.
- Address: Mit Rahineh Rd., 3 km (2 mi) west of Badrasheen, Mit Rahineh
- Phone: /
- Cost: £E35
- Hours: Daily 8–4
- Location: Memphis